CA: How did you get the moniker Jack Ghostel?
JG: It originally started because I was developing another personality; a separate identity from myself. I came up with Ghostel from an old cartoon I used to watch which was Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Space Ghost’s real name was Thad Ghostel and I got the last name from there. I honestly don’t know remember how Jack came about. I think people started calling me that because I love The Nightmare before Christmas movie so much. I put those two names on tumblr and that became my name after that.
CA: What made you gravitate to art?
JG: It started when I was really young. I was a loner. I didn’t talk to people and didn’t really want to talk to people. I was fascinated with drawing because I could create a little world by myself. I eventually got into anime and I loved the art style. One of my goals when I was young was to make my own anime. I eventually veered off from anime because a few artists captured what I wanted to do style wise. After a while, I couldn’t stop drawing. You know how people say ball is life? I would say art is life for me. Without art, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Everything about me now stems from me drawing. I learned how to talk to people because people would see my drawings and ask questions on it.
CA: I see you have utilized various styles/techniques over the years. What did you do to widen your range to your current level?
JG: Everything I do, I teach myself. I am a self-taught artist. I did go to college for art (a college that had art courses) and it didn’t really do anything for me. I can see a style and fall in love with it. No one has to teach me how to do that style. I look at it once and figure out how to do it. There are certain artists where I see their art style and want to try some aspects of it. I keep bits and pieces to improve my art. This comes from me not wanting to feel stale because I get bored very easily. I get bored of my own art very easily. If I continue doing one thing, afterward everything starts looking the same. It is very difficult to make the same thing look different over and over again. A lot of things I do, I do it for the first time. Like the watercolors you saw me do, that was the first time me working with it. I am getting a lot of praises for it but I am still learning when it comes to that style.
CA: You talk about muses a lot in your work. How important are they to the process of creating the art? Can you draw without one?
JG: Honestly, I didn’t understand the concept of a muse until recently. I just got a muse for the first time in my life. I always thought that I would like drawing this one person. It is completely different thing when you actually have a muse. She is really the source of my creativity right now. I can draw without her but our interactions inspire me to do other things. The watercolors I tried with her first. Whatever vision I see her as I start drawing it. I really liked what I did with her, I can mix it up a little to try with something else. She is the seed to my art right now, she isn’t everything but she is the seed. I water it and let it grow. I clip it and grow another plant from that. That is how I see my interactions with my muse.
I am very in the moment. If I see something and I really like that (style, dress, eyes, etc), I use it as inspiration. I was my muse at a certain point along with my own characters I had. All three of the characters stem from dreams I have had about women. The first one is a dream girl I made who goes by the name of Tina. I had another one named Diana who everyone swears is a real person and is not. She also came from a dream that I had. I would say she became the reflection of who I am. I used her as an outlet, for her to be whatever I wanted her to be. I draw very emotional art.
CA: How did you know this woman was your muse?
JG: I was doing a photoshoot with her and as I am taking the pictures of her, I am in awe as I see her. There were times I tried to take a picture and couldn’t. I was staring at her. She had a glow around her, which reminded me of the Prince skit in the Chappelle Show when Prince had this golden aura. I will never forget because this is my favorite picture of her. I had her in a simple outfit like a tee shirt and shorts. I looked at her and she looks like she belongs. I mean she belongs in the world and her existence is amazing to me. It was awkward to explain that to her and I would like to make her my muse. I feel it is almost like asking a girl to marry you. I met her around Halloween and the photoshoot was in February of this year. We hit it off from there.
CA: Did you have any mentors in the art world starting out? Any currently?
JG: I would say around 2008 when I followed Ravenscar on Deviantart and became fascinated with her art style. One of my goals is to have my favorite artist say I am at the same level as them. Raven would do these live drawing things on uStream and I would watch them all the time to the point of becoming a regular. I got to the point to talk to her offline and discuss things in art. She gave me advice here and there when it came to drawing digitally. It is different than the traditional way of drawing and feels like learning how to draw all over again. She has stopped drawing down the line but I still let her know she has been a major influence to me.
There is a comicbook artist who works mainly for DC now. His name is Kenneth Rocafort and I love his work. Anyone who has seen his work and seen my recent work, you can see how much I take from his work. I blended the style I learned from Ravenscar and Kenneth to what I would say is my current style right now.
CA: In addition to art, I see you have also taken up photography work. Explain how doing art and photography are similar and how they are different for you?
JG: With art, I am creating everything (something from nothing). In photography, I am capturing something that is already there. It is hard to do and I suck at directing my photo shoots. Whenever I have a photoshoot, I have the person be as comfortable as possible. My art is an expression of who I am and my photography is an expression of who that person is. I do use a lot of my photography for my art in that I take what was given and change it to suit what I need.
CA: I see over the years your vision in your work has become much more erotic in nature. How did this evolution begin and when did you feel comfortable adding this to your works?
JG: When I first started off drawing people, I was afraid to ask to do nude work. I did a series a while back and it was my first step into the erotic art area. I was doing suggestive elements of erotica and dabbling into that genre to ease it in. I eventually wanted to practice drawing bodies. The best way to do it was to ask people to submit some photos for me to work on. I got a lot of positive feedback from women who loved the series. The women in the series felt better about themselves and it made them look at their body as works of art. This inspired me to do another series where I get the images and some words to put together when I finished. I wasn’t going to filter out or change anything. I want everyone to be in his or her purest form and express that in an art form. I realize if I can do that for them and can do that for myself as well. My photos are whatever I want and I have a good enough fanbase of 10 people. I only care what those people think about my work and I feel like my work is better now because it is genuine.
CA: Did you feel tumblr helped cultivate your art with all the feedback you got from the users?
JG: Back then, tumblr was really interactive in that people were always ready to provide feedback. At any point of any day, someone was available to connect with. I started doing it from the beginning so I had followers because of my artwork or because of the crazy things I would say online. The interaction showed me what the people wanted to see, what they didn’t want to see, and even the things people didn’t want to openly admit they enjoyed. I learned more about people because some of the people who seem they wouldn’t want to partake in my projects reach out to me. On the flipside, some people who I think would want to shy away from the opportunity.
CA: You have done quite a handful of series in your art. They also happen to be your best-received work in the duration of your career. How do you decide to start a series?
JG: It started from my longest running series titled Tumblr girl. I would draw pictures of girls I followed on tumblr. It wasn’t anything crazy like the other series. The other ones exploded because they are participation concepts where I needed people to submit images for me to get it going. I had a series titled the Points of Attraction where I would draw parts of the body that can sometimes be overlooked. The clavicle or the neck, which can be sexy parts of a woman. Most of my series are on a whim and a few of them were planned out like the Points of Attraction series.
CA: Not to forget but you happen to make hats and clothing as well. Now your brand is also associated with flowers (in addition to the sensual depiction of the ladies). What made you decide to make clothing?
JG: The clothing thing was something I always wanted to do. Back when I was in high school, I was a hypebeast. I was one of those kids who spent all their money in Supreme and Stussy. All of this stuff is artist based. I figured I could do the same and I started designing my own shirts. My first clothing brand was with my boy Logic and we ran it for a bit. That partnership after a while didn’t work (but we are still good friends). It was always something I wanted to do and the flower thing was because of how beautiful I find flowers. I never saw the reason why guys never wore flowers. At first, people thought I was advertising my brand to women. I was going to wear anything I made for the brand and eventually some of my other friends followed suit.
CA: I see Winston The First is undergoing a shift in the visuals. What induced the change to your clothing brand?
JG: The beginning of Winston the First was really weird. I was bored at work and I was drawing WTF on everything because I hated my job. I did one with an inverted cross and a religious figure came in to ask me what the image was. I said it was Winston the First and I don’t know where that came from. I told people the story and said I should do something with that. I made a beanie for myself and people wanted them so I started to sell them. I came across the floral pattern and I decided to use it with Winston the First to give you a different feel. Usually WTF is connected to dark elements so the play with a lighter element is good. I had to make it more focused on the design itself since the brands have taken in the floral print on an arrangement of clothing now. I started drawing roses on everything because I wanted a new logo that wasn’t my name. I want an image and images stick better than names. So I decided to draw one rose.
CA: When it comes to your website, how do you go about choosing these women for the exclusive content you post on there?
JG: It all started from my muse and the site launched with her being the first exclusive. I wanted something that I couldn’t shove on IG or twitter that couldn’t be overlooked. You see the full image as you need to see it. It captures you and it isn’t something you aren’t going to double tap it. I created a reason to go to my website along with my clothing and artwork. I keep it in the erotic base but the feel is based off the person. One of them, I had a girl who is conservative and she was constantly covering herself. Another one, we were playing reggae because we are both Jamaican. You can see the difference with each exclusive shoot based on the vibe we were shooting with.
CA: What three things does Jack Ghostel need to accomplish this year?
JG: One thing I have to do immediately is work with other artists. I don’t have a lot of collaborations and I don’t talk to a lot of art people. I was apart of an art show recently with people I don’t really know which is a first for me. This should help me grow as an artist.
Next, I want to be a better artist. I am not an insecure person but when it comes to my art I am extremely insecure about it. There was a time I quit doing art for a year due to that. I want to be able to look at my art and feel satisfied with what I have been doing.
Lastly, I want to get my name out there as much as possible. As much as I am not comfortable with my art, I feel heavily slept on. I feel people don’t know my name and what I do. I want my work to be known more.